Monday, March 15, 2010
D23 1 Year Anniversary Event, Pt. 2, The Return of Captain EO
Michael Jackson, Francis Coppola, and George Lucas collaborated on The Walt Disney Company’s “Captain EO,” a unique three dimensional narrative musical film presented by Kodak, which premiered September 19, 1986 at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. This musical space fantasy starred Michael Jackson with original songs written, produced, and sung by Jackson, “Captain EO” was directed by Coppola, executive produced by Lucas, and produced by Rusty Lemorande.
With Jackson’s recent death, news quickly leaked that Disneyland was going to remove "Honey I Shrunk The Audience” and put “Captain EO” back into the Kodak Theater. Then, just as quickly as it was announced, it was yanked supposedly due to fear about any backlash from allegations made against Jackson while he was alive. Once the Disney corporation overcame that hurdle of fear, plans to return “EO” were quickly reinstated and it made its debut on February 23.
I remember seeing it the first time it was at Disneyland; “EO” seemed a little creeky and hokey to me even back then. I was a huge fan of Jackson’s talent during the 80’s when I was in college. Each song was a favorite, and I remember what a big deal it was to crowd around the TV each time one of his innovative videos was released on MTV. After awhile, I felt that his songs lost their edge and became too manufactured. I lost interest in him as his fame seemed more centered around his erratic behaviour than his musical genius. Seeing him in the recently released "This Is It” musical documentary reminded me exactly what the world lost; an extremely talented dancer, song stylist, musician, and creative being.
I checked out “EO” on Wednesday night during the D23 Anniversary Event, almost 24 years after its initial release. My thoughts were pretty much the same; very dated; not anything I hadn't already seen from Jackson. And yet it sure was a lot of fun to see. It’s definitely a time capsule of the videos that launched MTV: the fashions, the hairstyles, the attitudes, the choreography.
Even though the film had opened weeks ago, the audience broke into applause every time Michael was visible and cheered him on; it really was amazing. The 3D is not up to the technical standards of today’s 3D features, but it will still make you duck your head every now and then. The sound was incredible, and so was the movement of the room in the appropriate places. The laser effects were fewer and not quite as impressive as I originally remembered, but overall, it was enjoyable to watch...especially Jackson's famous moonwalk!
In the waiting area, there is a video that was originally shown back in 1986; it too is very dated, but a fun glimpse of “the making of...”; you rarely see Jackson in this video...other than his feet, and from the movement, you know who it is supposed to be.
UPDATE: Kurt, a Daveland reader, assembled this photo for me as a follow-up to my Snow White post last week. The Tony Curtis movie "40 Pounds of Trouble" features a lengthy sequence at Disneyland and is notable for its interior views of some of the Fantasyland Dark Rides. Here is a collage of the Snow White views:
Many thanks to Kurt! "Forty Pounds of Trouble" is available at Amazon.com. See more current and vintage Captain EO photos at my regular website.